I just came across this largely trivial cultural skirmish. Obama said “I promise you, folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree.” In fact from the transcript you can see him, Eddie Maguire like thinking that he’s ‘misspoke’ as they say. In any event he sent off a dignified apology lacking the cant and bullshit normally associated with such ‘damage control’.
[A]ccording to University of Texas art history professor Ann Collins Johns, Obama has officially apologized for his remarks, sending her this handwritten letter:
Let me apologize for my off-the-cuff remarks. I was making a point about the jobs market, not the value of art history. As it so happens, art history was one of my favorite subjects in high school, and it has helped me take in a great deal of joy in my life that I might otherwise have missed.
So please pass on my apology for the glib remark to the entire department, and understand that I was trying to encourage young people who may not be predisposed to a four year college experience to be open to technical training that can lead them to an honorable career.
It’s a nice simple and clear letter. I also like the fact that he didn’t defend the economic value of art history.